Cantor Predicts Most Republicans Will Oppose Stimulus

Posted February 12, 2009 at 2:33pm

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) expressed confidence Thursday that the bulk of his Conference would vote against the $789 billion stimulus bill, even though Members had not seen the text of the legislation.

“We have not seen the language. That will make the difference as to where our votes are. Again early reports indicate this bill is not much better than [the House bill], so we are suspecting a fairly unified Republican vote,” Cantor said during a meeting with reporters and a half dozen members of his whip team.

Late last month, every Member of the House Republican Conference voted against the House version of the stimulus bill, delivering a symbolic victory for a party deep in the minority. House and Senate Republicans have complained for weeks that they have not had enough input in negotiations over the multibillion-dollar spending bill.

Cantor said that while he had not seen the House-Senate conference report on the package, based on information from news reports and Congressional sources, he was doubtful that it had gone through a transformation that would merit much Republican support. He said that the whip team doesn’t yet know how many GOP lawmakers will support the package — saying Members are still awaiting the language — but that GOP leadership would continue to encourage “no” votes for the bill.

GOP sources have speculated that as many as 30 Republican lawmakers may support the stimulus when it comes to a vote Friday.

“The message is the same if the bill is the same, and frankly we’ve got our plan and that allowed our Members to rally together to say we are going to be about a smart simple stimulus plan not the largest spending plan ever in this country,” Cantor said.